The Blind Spot: The fads to avoid this January (and every January)

Dry January, new languages, fresh dating accounts, Instagram 'honesty' — here are the fads to avoid this New Year.

It’s not true that only boring people get bored. But it is true that only boring people get boring in January. All this self-imposed temperance and sudden moral sanctity! Spare us. We all behaved terribly in December. But you trying to raise yourself above the waterline now that it’s 2019 is all a little uppish, don’t you find?

Anyway, the only reason January seems so bleak is because everyone goes on about how bleak January is the whole time. The weather’s no worse than in December or February, and at least you’ve had a little break. It’s some kind of global smear campaign designed to make January look worse than the other months. Who’s behind it? August? September? Can we really trust October, now we’re on the subject? Leave January alone. And try to have a good time while you’re at it. Here are the fads you really ought to avoid in the coming month.

Doing Dry January

I have a sneaking suspicion that the kind of people who revel in their ‘dry’ Januarys are the kind of people who never really enjoyed the ‘wet’ months anyway. You retreat back to your Now TV and your chunky knits, friend — we’ve got some fondue and fondling to be getting on with, thanks very much.

Downloading a new dating app

I take it as a point of nonsensical pride that I have never really used a dating app. (I’ve never really been on a date, either, but that’s beside the point.) It’s uppity of me, and self-indulgent, and stems only from my obvious insecurities and a devastating lack of passable headshots. But it’s oddly comforting. And isn’t it nice for at least one part of your life not to be dominated by a screen? You should try it this year.

Buying a Nutribullet (etc)

I know Nutribullets are probably very old hat in the healthy gadget stakes, but they deserve particular disdain for the noise they tend to make in the kitchen above my flat every Saturday morning. It’s just a smug Magimix.

Pledging to learn a new language

Multi-linguists are often fascinating people, and it’s admirable when someone decides to immerse themselves in a culture or country at its most fundamental level — its speech, its curses, its 32 words for ‘light Northwards breeze’.

But that’s not why most people announce, suddenly, that they’ve always wanted to learn French, is it. Instead, it’s because they imagine a proper pronunciation of Bouillabaisse will make them sound more worldly and chic and better read and better in bed, in a kind of Amelie-meets-Chocolat-meets-Eat Pray Love sort of way. It’s just another form of cultural appropriation. You’re not Vincent Cassel. You aren’t even Vincent Van de Voort (niche, sure — but I couldn’t think of another chubby, balding European at short notice. Good darts player, though.)

Posting self-consciously honest recaps of the year gone by

Honesty’s good, and openness is fine, I suppose, with people who love you. But it’s now very fashionable in January to admit all your hardships and personal shortcomings to your imagined auditorium of rapt followers, in some sort of uninvited TED Talk of open wounds and personal ‘growth’. You know the captions — full of humble-brags about the hardships of being so monumentally successful, and admissions — eek! – that maybe you didn’t always stick to the Californian diet on your Instagram stories. The only thing more nauseating is thanking your followers for being a part of your ‘journey’, imagining that we’re all invested in your narrative like you’re Frodo Baggins or Meghan Markle or that iguana who was on that David Attenborough show a couple of years ago.

This kind of counterfeit deference and flashy vulnerability looks cheap even on X-Factor contestants. Here’s a New Year’s resolution for you: keep your thoughts to yourself.

Further Reading